Rocca of Pierle

How to reach

The castle rises at dominion of the homonymous valley, along the SP35 that from the city of Cortona leads in Umbria. Cortona is reachable following the SS71 Umbro-Casentinese or from the exit Bettolle-Val di Chiana of the motorway A1 Florence-Rome.


Pierle can be considered one of the most beautiful and powerful examples of a feudal castle in Tuscany. At the same time, its remote location and lack of conservation work has never allowed it to emerge from the state of abandonment and degradation in which it has been since 1587. In recent years the ivy that had enveloped the façade of the donjon has been removed and the watchtower has been rebuilt (begun in 2010, freed from scaffolding in October 2019), which was partially in ruins and at risk of further collapse.

Pierle was a thorn in the flank for the expansionist politic of the city state of Cortona. The castle is still today located in the municipality of this town. The Podestà of this powerful city had to waste time and wars in order to submit the fiefs of the castle, the marquises of Pierle and the counts of Cegliolo, that had here their stronghold. Once subdued the castle was reinforced and magnified, its current shape goes back to the 13th century and it is a work of the architects Francesco and Raniero Campagna, to defend Cortona from the attacks coming from the territory of the neighbor city of Perugia. In its history no particular battles or important facts of arms took place in Pierle, except for the massacre of some conspirators in the year 1387 carried on by hands of Uguccio Campagna.

As above said the fortification lies in ruin, but still today it gives off all its great power and magnificence. The aspect is the classic one of the medieval castle-enclosure. The external circuit of walls, high between 5 and the 8 meters, has an irregular shape perfectly adapted to the rocks on which it is erected, and its endowed of three powerful square towers: in that one towards the inner valley, situated in correspondence of the main gate of the keep, is opened a postern, secondary entrance to the inner enclosure, where the foundations of the castle chapel can still be recognised. On the east side is a ramp leading to the double main gate, with carriage and pedestrian access, equipped with a drawbridge.

Inside rises the residential keep-palace: this is the greatest still visible in Tuscany, even though only the external walls remains, and is placed in the northern part of the courtyard.

On its walls remains only some brackets in stone that supported the breteche of the main, and only, gate and some nude windows and loopholes. This heart of the castle has a rectangular shape and from the northeast angle comes out the tall watch tower. Around its walls developed a small village with a beautiful Roman church of the 11th century, reconstructed in the 1505, intitled to S.Biagio a Pierle, with a single nave.

The castle was destroyed in 1587 by the armies of the Granduchy of Tuscany Francesco dei Medici in order to avoid that the enemies of his Lordship could here find shelter. All the complex is strongly ruined and visible only from the outside.

More info & notes

For information on visits or anything else about the Rocca, please contact directly Ing.Pazzaglia Gabriele on mobile +39 339 4510936 or send an e-mail to